Two sisters

The Lord’s word came to me: Human one, there were two women, daughters of one woman. When they were girls in Egypt, they began to prostitute themselves by allowing their young and nubile breasts to be touched and fondled. The older sister was named Oholah, and the younger sister was named Oholibah. They became mine and gave birth to sons and daughters. Now Oholah is Samaria, and Oholibah is Jerusalem. But Oholah became unfaithful to me and lusted after her lovers the Assyrians: warriors dressed in fine blue cloth, governors and officers, charioteers and horsemen, all of them the most handsome of men. She sought them out to seduce them, all of them men of the highest rank of Assyria. She defiled herself by everyone she lusted after and also by all their idols. But she never gave up her promiscuities with the Egyptians, who had slept with her in her girlhood and fondled her nubile breasts, and who continued to seduce her. Therefore, I handed her over to her lovers, to the Assyrians for whom she lusted. 10 They stripped her naked, took her sons and daughters, and killed her with the sword. And she became notorious among women for the punishments they enacted against her.

11 Her sister Oholibah saw it, and she proceeded to outdo her sister in her lust and in her seductions. 12 She lusted after the Assyrians, governors and officers, warriors richly clothed, charioteers and horsemen, all of them the most handsome of men. 13 I saw that she too defiled herself. Both had the same tendencies, 14 but she was even more promiscuous. She saw men carved in wall reliefs, images of Chaldeans outlined in vermilion, 15 wearing only loincloths around their hips and flowing headbands on their heads. All of them had the appearance of warriors of the third rank, the likeness of Babylonians whose native land is Chaldea. 16 Aroused just by looking at them, she sent messengers to them in Chaldea. 17 The Babylonians came to her to lie down and make love with her, defiling her with their seductions. But once she had defiled herself with them, she recoiled from them in disgust. 18 When her seductions became known and her nakedness exposed, I recoiled from her just as I had recoiled from her sister. 19 But she added to her promiscuities, bringing to mind her youthful days when she was a prostitute in the land of Egypt. 20 She lusted after their male consorts, whose sexual organs were like those of donkeys, and whose ejaculation was like that of horses. 21 She relived the wicked days of her youth, when the Egyptians touched and fondled her young and nubile breasts.

22 So Oholibah, the Lord God proclaims: I’m now inciting your lovers against you, all those from whom you recoiled, and I will bring them against you from all around— 23 Babylonians and all the Chaldeans, Pekod and Shoa and Koa, all the Assyrians with them, the most handsome young men, all of them governors and officers, career officers and conscripts, all of them on horseback. 24 They will come against you with weapons,[a] chariots, and wagons, and with a great army, with shield, buckler, and helmet; and they will surround you. I will hand your punishment over to them, and they will judge you according to their laws. 25 I will direct my passion against you, and they will deal with you in wrath. They will cut off your nose and ears, and those who are left will fall by the sword. They will seize your sons and daughters, and those who are left will be burned with fire. 26 They will strip your clothing from you and remove your beautiful crown. 27 That’s how I will put an end to your lewdness and your Egyptian-styled promiscuity. Never again will you stare at them, and you won’t remember Egypt anymore. 28 The Lord God proclaims: I’m now handing you over to those whom you hate and from whom you recoil. 29 They will deal hatefully with you: They will seize your pay and leave you completely naked. Your promiscuity, betrayal, and seductions will be exposed. 30 This will be done to you because you sold yourself to the nations and became defiled by their idols. 31 You followed in your sister’s path, so I have put her cup into your hand.

32 The Lord God proclaims:

Deep and wide is your sister’s cup. Drink!
Appointed for abuse and scorn, it overflows.
33 You will be filled with drunken sadness.
A cup of devastation and dismay
is the cup of your sister Samaria.
34 Drink it, drain it dry, break it into pieces,
and tear off your breasts, for I have spoken.
This is what the Lord God says.

35 So now the Lord God proclaims: Because you forgot me and turned your back on me, you alone will bear the consequences of your betrayal and promiscuities.

36 Then the Lord said to me, Human one, judge Oholah and Oholibah, and make known their detestable practices to them. 37 They committed adultery, so now blood is on their hands. They committed adultery with their idols, and they even took their children whom they had borne to me and offered them up to be consumed for them. 38 They also did this to me: On the same day, they made my sanctuary unclean and made my sabbaths impure. 39 When they slaughtered their children for their idols, they came into my sanctuary and made it impure on that very same day. They actually did this inside my temple. 40 They even sent for men who came from a great distance. No sooner than a messenger was sent, they arrived! For these men you bathed, you painted your eyes, and you put on your jewelry. 41 You took your place on a splendid couch with a richly set table in front of it, and you set my incense and my oil on it. 42 The sound of a noisy crowd was around her. Men from the common multitude, drinkers of wine, were brought from the desert. They put bracelets on their wrists and beautiful crowns on their heads. 43 Then I thought, For a foolish woman they become adulterers! Incited by her seduction, they prostitute themselves—for her![b] 44 They come as if coming to a prostitute, first to Oholah, and then to Oholibah, those traitorous women. 45 But men who do the right thing will judge them, and they will be punished as adulterers and murderers, because they are in fact adulterers, and blood is on their hands.

46 The Lord God proclaims: Bring up an assembly against them, and decree terror and plunder for them. 47 Let the assembly stone them! Let them carve them up with their swords, slay their sons and daughters, and burn their houses with fire! 48 So I will put an end to betrayal in the land. Taking warning, no woman will betray as you have done. 49 You will be held accountable for your betrayals, and you will bear the sins of your idols. Then you will know that I am the Lord God.


  1. Ezekiel 23:24 Heb uncertain
  2. Ezekiel 23:43 Heb uncertain